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So the countries in south east of Europe are putting up the “house full” signs and things are turning nasty. Clearly whether you think granting millions of people the right to settle or not is unimportant, the problem has to be dealt with.


Hungary and Slovakia didn’t want any Muslims and I am sure the British government would like to say ‘Yes we will have all the doctors and nurses’. Then there is the Mayor of Beziers metaphorically out with his pitchfork trying to evict Syrians.  So with the wall being built around fortress Europe if the people still come in via Italy the result will be border checks between each country or people will end up where they want to be not where they have been “allocated”.


Is someone in charge of all the air strikes on Syria? If not it is going to get very messy as most countries seem to be throwing their hat into the ring to join the target practice.


I was looking at statistics that showed the area of France in square kilometres, the answer is 547,561 sq km.  If I have done the calculation correctly, the 24,000 migrants the French government have decided they will take in over the next two years, it would mean one person every 23 sq km. That doesn’t seem a lot? And it is not how the French Republic was conceived because written into the 1793 constitution the republic is an ”asylum to foreigners banished from their countries in the cause of liberty".


Incidentally where I found the sq km of France it also had the same information for every country of the world, with it broken down by time period and mysteriously France grew 4 sq km when reported in 1995/99.


When Vladimir has finished considering whether he will speak to Sir Reg perhaps he could offer three million the right to live in Vladivostock as he wants to turn it into the new Hong Kong.  What better way?


Oh dear, daytime telly is due to get worse.  That man, half way between David (cheap as chips) Dickinson and Terry Thomas, Tim Wonnacott has been suspended by the BBC over a “bust up”

with the producers. Could that mean Bargain Hunt goes to Amazon? I do hope not!


The space race is heating up and the main players appear to be Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and Tesla cars, Sir Richard Branson and now Amazon – imagine the same thing in days gone by with WH Smiths, Luncheon Vouchers owner and Decca Records as the space invaders…….







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Lost in France

For those of you who miss English speaking cinema or despair at the choice of the films that are available with English as the original voice in local cinemas AND you have a decent internet connection, here are two websites you might enjoy.  One is which offers from this website one person’s particular taste in movies.  If the internet speed is good then the quality of the film, download time and buffering is superb.  Another one is called  This appears to be a website where anyone can upload their favourite films and TV shows.  It is via subscription so there is the possibility that after 20 or 30 minutes the film will be interrupted by a message which says you either have to subscribe or wait 30 minutes before you can go back to where you left off and in addition it has subtitles in other languages.  Sometimes if you are lucky, you can run a whole episode of a TV show without your enjoyment being cut.  It’s still not the same as the cinematic experience, but as there is a faint wisp of autumn in the air it might be something worth considering.









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There are lots of things happening at the moment in the financial world that affect us as expats living in France.

So this month, I am providing a summary of various topics.

Social Charges

This has to be one of the hottest topics around the expat dinner table, at the moment! It all started with the European

Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in February that France should not apply social charges on ‘income from capital’ for

French residents who are insured under the social security scheme of another EU/EEA State. For those who want

more on the detail of the ECJ ruling, this can be found in my previous article on this subject at


However, despite the fact that the ECJ had made its decision, we still had to wait for France to accept the ruling.

Happily, this came through on 27th July 2015, from the Conseil d’Etat, which is France’s highest court. This means

that people affected by the ruling can now claim back social charges paid in 2013 and 2014, on investment income

and gains. The claim should be made by 31st December 2015, otherwise you will lose the right to get back those paid

in 2013.

As concerns social charges due for 2015, the good news is that I have already seen evidence from some clients’ tax

bills that the social charges have not been applied. On the other hand, we all know that one tax office can do

something completely different than another and so some of you may find that you have a bill for social charges! If so

and you don’t think that you are liable, you should contact your tax office to dispute the bill.

The main group of people who will benefit from the ECJ ruling is those who hold a Certificate S1 for their health

cover. Beyond this, those working in another EU/EEA State, but living in France will also benefit. However, a

grey area concerns early retirees, who do not have a Certificate S1 and instead have private medical cover because

the text of the ECJ judgement actually refers to being insured by another State’s social security system. So we will

have to wait for the next round of Social Security legislation, which will be debated during the final quarter of this year,

to see how they will be affected.

French Tax Changes

The debate on the draft finance bill for 2016 is scheduled to commence on 13th October.

As documents are published, we will carry out our own analysis. So keep an eye on the French pages on our own

website at for information. Alternatively, you can contact me

directly for information.

EU Succession Regulations

These Regulations have now been in effect since 17th August 2015 and more information can be found in

my previous articles at:

So if you have not made a French will, as a French resident, the default position is that the succession rules of

France will apply to your entire worldwide estate. In effect, this should include any UK property that you own, but since

the UK has opted out of the Regulations, it is unlikely that an English court will easily accept a French court deciding

that the UK property should pass to the ‘protected heirs’, instead of to the surviving spouse, if that is what you

specified in a UK will! So we cannot be clear about what will happen in practice.

There are lots of other complicated situations that may arise and at the very least people should take the opportunity

to revisit wills and succession planning. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your situation, please

contact me.


The major reform in UK pensions that has taken place this year has generated lots of enquiries from people who are

looking to cash-in their pension pots. Many people are not aware of the severe tax implications of doing this and

thankfully, we are often able to find alternative solutions for them to meet their objectives.

We all wish to have a financially secure retirement and careful planning is an essential part of achieving this

objective. At Spectrum, we can provide you with the necessary advice to reach your goal.

Investment Markets & Interest Rates

Volatility has been felt in investment markets over the last month, mainly as a result of actions taken in China

relating to interest rates and currency devaluation. What has also been demonstrated is the fact that the global

recovery is still fragile. This has caused central bankers to rethink interest rate policy and anticipated increases in US

and UK interest rates may be pushed further back.

At Spectrum, we have a range of solutions to suit all levels of attitude to investment risk and if you would like to have a

review of your financial situation, please contact me.

Client Seminars

All of the above subjects are being covered at our Autumn Seminars taking place across

France – “Le Tour de Finance - Bringing Experts to Expats”. The date for the local seminar is

Friday, 9th October 2015 at the Domaine Gayda, 11300 Brugairolles and there are a limited number of places

remaining. If you would like to come to the event, please contact me as soon as possible to make your reservation.

If you are further away, we have other events are taking place earlier during that week at:

        St Endreol (Provence) on 7th October

    •         Aix-en-Provence on 8th October

If you are not able to come to one of our seminars, but you would anyway like to have a confidential discussion about

any aspect of financial planning, please contact me either by e-mail at or by

telephone on  04 68 20 30 17.

The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation

from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of investment of financial assets or the

mitigation of taxes.

The Spectrum IFA Group advisers do not charge any fees directly to clients for their time or for advice given, as can

be seen from our Client Charter at

Daphne Foulkes

SIRET 522 658 194 00017

Numéro d’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800


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New EU Succession Law

By Mary Taylor, Partner, Blevins Franks


When UK nationals buy property in France and/or move to live there, one significant difference between the UK and France that they need to be aware of is the French succession (inheritance) law.


In the UK, you are generally free to leave your assets to whomever you wish when you die (Scotland and Northern Ireland law does have some restrictions), as stated in your will.


French law, however, imposes significant restrictions.  The key issues are:


  •           Under French law assets do not automatically pass in accordance with your Will (unless your Will happens to match                     French succession law, which for most British residents in France is unlikely).
  •           Children are protected heirs, inheriting up to 75% of the deceased parent’s estate.
  •           In the absence of a will, the surviving spouse is only entitled to 25% of the nue propriété, or 100% in usufruit, of the                     deceased’s assets. Spouses are not protected heirs.
  •            There are ways of circumventing these laws, but care must be taken to ensure that these have the effect you are looking               for.

Note that the term “children” includes children from an earlier marriage and adopted children, and their age is not relevant - they could be 8 or 80!  

This succession law applies to your worldwide assets if you are French domiciled (ie permanently French resident).  It always applies to French real estate, even if you are not resident in France.


The French law itself is not changing, but a new EU directive from 17th August 2015 allows expatriates living in the EU to elect for the succession law of their country of nationality to apply on their death, as opposed to that of their country of residence.


The increased global mobility of individuals over recent years has created confusion when it comes to the settlement of cross-border inheritances. Individuals can own estates in more than one country, which can trigger the application of multiple inheritance laws and create conflicts of law. The new European Succession Regulation, or “Brussels IV” as it is commonly called, was devised to address this issue and simplify and lower the costs on cross border succession issues.


The main mission of Brussels IV is to make sure that the court of a single jurisdiction will apply a single law to the entire estate of the individual.  The three main pillars of the regulation are:


  •            The default position and most important criterion is that the law of the state in which the deceased was “habitually                         resident” at the time of their death applies to succession of assets located across the Brussels IV zone. 
  •             However, an individual can elect to apply the law of their nationality to all their assets across the zone. This selection                   must be made before death, through a statement in their will or a similar document.
  •             The default position may also be overturned if there is a jurisdiction to which the deceased was “manifestly” more closely              connected. 

It is important to note that Brussels IV does not apply to succession/inheritance taxes.  The situation remains as before - where an individual has assets in more than one country, and different inheritance tax regimes apply, the double tax treaty (if any) or the national tax rules will determine where and how succession tax is paid.


Therefore, if you are resident in France at the date of your death or if you have assets in France, the French succession tax rules continue to apply. You cannot choose UK inheritance tax instead of French succession tax.


So, UK nationals living in France can now elect for UK succession law to apply on their death, thereby avoiding French succession law.  But is this the right choice for you?   It may well not be.


For a start, the UK, along with Ireland and Denmark, has opted out of the new regulation, and so are not Brussels IV states.  The effect of this on UK nationals in France is not entirely clear yet.


Secondly, even though the law does not cover tax as such, there are tax issues to be aware of.  The French succession tax rates are high for distant and non-relatives, up to 60%, with negligible allowances.  Even closer relatives like brothers and sisters only get €15,932 tax free and then pay tax at 35% or 45%, depending on the amount of inheritance.


Also, because of the wording of the UK/France double tax treaty, it is possible that if you opt for UK law to apply, your estate may be liable to the UK inheritance tax rules, as well as French succession tax.  This could have significant consequences.


Brussels IV may therefore not be the panacea for estate planning in France.  Although it was designed to simplify matters, it also changes the succession landscape.  You need to understand all the implications for you and your heirs. There are tools available to help with estate planning in France, but you to ensure that the arrangements you use achieve the results you are looking for.  It is important to seek specialist, personalised advice, to review your existing plans and help you establish which law would work best for you.


Blevins Franks Seminars – Dealing with specifics


What do the following mean for you?


European Certificate of Succession

UK pension freedom

Automatic exchange of information

Assurance Vie – They are not all the same

Investments - suitability and choices


The Blevins Franks seminars provide an update on these important issues and explain the implications for residents of France. 

CAHUZAC-SUR-VÈRE (in Tarn) – Wednesday 7th October

CARCASSONNE – Thursday 8th October

GIMONT (near Auch) – Friday 9th October

Talk to the people who know.  Click here to book your seminar seat now, or contact Mary Taylor on  or 05 62 30 51 40   


Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change.  Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change.  Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.


To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website


meteo ciel3

 truff15 to 16

 Tech Talk 























Win or Lose?


As many of you have discovered Windows 10 has been rolling out over the past few weeks. But the real question we need to ask – Is it better?


YesI really think it is, it’s a huge improvement over Windows 8 and it faster and use less of the hardware than Windows 7 which makes it a bit faster its also must safer and more secure.


There have been a few little problems but nothing major, not like the total mess that Windows 8 upgrade created when it was released. Some of the problems people have been experiencing are


  1. Unable to send emails using Microsoft Outlook
  2. Printer does not print – either wrong default printer or driver needs to be reinstalled.
  3. New Edge browser – people cannot find their Favourites/bookmarks
  4. Edge browsers lack of Plugins, ie Adobe Acrobat, Flash, Java, google Toolbar etc…..
  5. New start menu
  6. Old programs discontinued.
  7. Change of default programs back to Microsoft ones, i.e. Chrome or Firefox browser do not open automatically.
  8. Slight changes to layout and styles – making people nervous.


If anyone has found any others please let me know.


The outlook sending problem can be cured using a system file repair scan – please contact me if you need instructions this is a technical one and not normally run by a home user. A windows update was also released which fixes this problem.


Most people have figured out that they need to set the default printer by going to Devices and Printers in the Control Panel, but have you figured out where the control panel is now hiding? Right click on the Start menu Button (yes the 4 white squares bottom left) and a new menu appears.


The Edge browser is brand new and designed to be much more secure and resilient against virus, trojens and malware. It therefore does not allow plugins to be installed which might compromise its improved security. For those that really need it you can still use Internet Explorer is now in the Start menu  - All Apps – Windows Accessories – Internet Explorer.


The New Start menu as I said above you can now right click on the start button, the new menu change the All Program to All Apps. But what are Apps and how do they work on Windows. In Windows 8 you had apps but they took over the whole screen and hid the desktop, they were not very good, blocked the Red X to close and generally made life difficult. Now they work properly they open in a separate window (box) they have an X at the top to close them and they do not take over the whole screen. The New start Menu is very good it mixes the old start menu and the new apps together, you can customise and move the apps and icons around. Some app have live tiles meaning they show information like weather, exchange rates etc. directly on the app icon (tile).


Other Known Problems.

Office 2003 has serious stability problems and should not be used with Windows 10, as an alternative download Libreoffice to replace Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and EmCleint to replace Outlook.


Chrome or Firefox browser can be reset as the default browser using the new setting menu, click start, go to setting, and click on “System Display, notifications, apps, power.” Click on “Default Apps”. Change the Brower by clicking the selected browser “Edge” and a drop down list will appear, choose the one you want to use.


A few people have told me how difficult Windows 10 is and that they have gone back to Windows 7.

This is NOT a good option, Windows 7 will be retired soon (although security updates will be available for a number of years ahead) and if you don’t download Windows 10 this year while its free you will have to pay for it next year. The Future is Windows 10 all of Microsoft knowhow and expertise and all future development will go into Windows 10. Unlike previous versions of Windows there is not be a service pack which improves and fixes Windows this process will be happening all the time. There have already been two system updates to Windows 10 and numerous fixes and security improvements. There are many more new features and improvements to come, watch this space.


Apart from the Internet Browser everything is the same as Windows 7 and better than Windows 8 so I encourage all those that have not done so to upgrade, all those who have gone back to Windows 7 it’s not too late upgrade to Windows 10.


If you need help or have any questions about your computer please give me a call or send me an email for advice. or Telephone 05 61 60 84 23.

Bruce Taylor.



 tf furniture ad




Bridge problem.


You are in four hearts and the defence lead Ace, King and another spade, all following. What is the best line for the contract?


6 5 4

7 6 5

A 6 5 4

A 4 3

Your hand

9 8

A K Q 4 2

8 7

K Q 7 2


You have nine tricks and need a tenth. This could come from either clubs 3/3 or a club ruff in Dummy. Ruff the third round of spades and draw two rounds of trumps. Now play on clubs. If they are 3/3 then draw the last trump and claim. If they aren’t, play the third round (if it gets ruffed the contract was unmakeable) and ruff the fourth round in Dummy, hoping that the person with four clubs also has the last trump and cannot ruff. 


Lizzie Godfrey












The weather is definitely cooling down and we have had the much needed rain so the next two or three months really are the time to be planning and doing autumn planting of trees, shrubs and perennials. 

There is warmth and moisture in the soil and  plants will  start to develop roots before the cold of winter and in mild winters may keep growing during the winter thus producing a more established plant – better able to withstand dry winds and heat  next summer.    Remember that when planting it is a good idea to dig a hole twice as deep and twice as wide as the pot, take this soil out and mix some of it with terreau de plantation or compost (organic material) and clean sand or gravel, use this mixture to give your plant a better start in life!  Before planting fill the planting hole with water and allow it to drain away several times, this will ensue that there is moisture at depth for the roots to seek out.  Whenever possible plant small plants rather than large specimens, they are less susceptible to wind rock, will establish faster and long term will result in healthier plants.  Stake plants if necessary.  It is also a good time to take cuttings of tender perennials such as geraniums, some salvias, plumbago etc so that they are rooted before the winter and can be overwintered in a light, frost free (but not too warm) environment.

I am often asked about suitable roses for the Languedoc climate, roses have been cultivated as ornamental plants for over two thousand years, there are about one hundred species of rose in the world and thousands of varieties that have been produced.  Some of my favourites are Rosa moschata hybrids such as Buff Beauty, Old Blush and Moonlight as well as species such as Rosa chinensis sanguinea but if you really want to seek out rose cultivars it is best to seek the advice of a specialist nursery such as this nursery in the Ariege -, I have also found the mail order firm of very helpful.  If possible it is best to plant roses as bare root plants in the late autumn.  There is also some useful information about roses for Mediterranean climates on the site of Mediterranean Gardening France -

Don't forget our autumn events at La Petite Pépinière -

                               Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm from the beginning of September until the end of November. 

For any garden queries do get in touch with Gill Pound ( 04 68 78 43 81 or ). La Petite Pépinière de Caunes 21, av de la Montagne Noire (route de Citou) 11160 Caunes-Minervois. Remember that you are always welcome to visit the garden to observe, take notes etc.  We are also always open by appointment, just phone or email to fix a time.

La Petite Pépinière de Caunes 21, av de la Montagne Noire, 11160 Caunes-Minervois 04 68 78 43 81











The Property Page





 front door 011smallarcher

 Razes circulade village

Period house in a beautiful Razes circulade village.  This renovated but unspoilt house is over 200 years old and has far reaching views of countryside, hills and mountains from almost every room, and a stunning roof terrace.  There are 3 double bedrooms, large lounge, separate dining room and kitchen.  There is also a very large walk-thru cellar.  The house retains many period features including a beautiful oak staircase.  

Price 99,000 euros. .




Former Presbetary with courtyard near town centre



 Village house to renovate with a courtyard of 80m²




Bordebasse du Lac - Cottage available for long term rental

 Detached modern house

for sale in Montréal


Holiday Apartment AiguaBlava,

Costa Brava


Naturist Property 97,500 euro


for 13 editions (6months)
link to your own web page

 readers write



Some vide greniers and foires!
Please check before setting off
They also have a sister site where you can giveaway stuff or find stuff others are giving
Its all recycling - you know it makes sense!
If there are two in the same town on the same day, it could be a duplicate on the site or a second event
Black = Aude - Brown = Ariege

Samedi 19Septembre

Campagne-sur-AudeVide grenier

CoursanVide grenier

SaverdunSalon des antiquaires et vide grenier

VarilhesVide grenier brocante

Dimanche 20 Septembre

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

CoursanVide grenier

DonazacVide grenier

EspérazaVide grenier de la St Michel du Carie

Fleury d'audeVide grenier

GruissanVide-grenier des mirguettes

HompsVide grenier

Le SomailVide greniers brocante d'automne


MagrieVide grenier dans le cadre des journées du Patrimoine

Narbonne Vide grenier, foire au jouets et linges

NarbonneVide grenier des AMIS DU RCNM

Narbonne6 ème Fête Annuelle Ensemble Avec Eux

Narbonne Brocante foire aux livres et disques

Narbonne-PlageVide Greniers de la Boule Lyonnaise de Narbonne Plage

PexioraVide Grenier - Salon du Collectionneur - Exposition Voitures

Rouffiac-d'AudeVide grenier

Salles-d'AudeVide grenier organisé par l‘amicale des sapeurs

Sigean  Vide grenier

TrèbesVide greniers, brocante

Verdun-en-LauragaisVide grenier,marché artisanal, Journée duPatrimoine

VillemoustaussouVide grenier de l'association familiale

ArignacVide grenier

BénaixFoire à tout et vide grenier du comité desfêtes de Benaix

BonnacVide grenier du Bonnac Olympique xv

DalouVide poussette et dressing

EngomerVide grenier





FoixVide grenier des pompiers de Foix


Lorp-SentarailleFoire aux livres et aux vieux papiers

MansesVide-greniers d'automne

PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

Sainte-SuzanneGrand vide-grenier

Sautel11e Fête de la Transhumance

Saverdun Salon des antiquaires et vide grenier

VarilhesVide grenier brocante



Samedi 26 Septembre

Alet-les-BainsVide grenier d'automne

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

FoixVide greniers brocante

SaverdunVide greniers +brocante

VarilhesVide grenier brocante


Dimanche 27 Septembre

Marcorignan Vide grenier et jouets et vetements


BelpechVide greniers - Brocante

CarcassonneVide grenier des 4 chemins

CarcassonneVide grenier brocante

Caunes-MinervoisVide grenier organisépar (les felins de Caunes)

CoursanVide grenier à Coursan

Cuxac-d'AudeVide grenier - Foire d'automne

Gaja-et-VilledieuVide greniers du comité des fêtes

Lézignan-CorbièresVide greniers de l'UF Lézignanais

Montredon-des-CorbièresVide grenier vide poussette

Narbonne-Plage Vide grenier

Névian Vide grenier de la farandole

Saint-FerriolVide grenier Annuel

SoupexVide grenier Syndicat Lauragais Audois

VillalierVide grenier de l'ASCV

Les Bordes-sur-ArizeVide-greniers, Brocante


PamiersMarché et puces et à la brocantes

SaverdunVide grenier

VarilhesVide grenier brocante








What's On

JOE SATRIANI 20 Sept Casino Toulouse 

THE RED ARMY CHOIR 3 Nov Zenith Toulouse

UFO 10 Nov Le Metronum

THE STRANGLERS 10 Nov Bikini Toulouse

NIGHTWISH 26 Nov Zenith Toulouse

LA TRAVIATA 28 Nov Zenith Toulouse

SCORPIONS 4 Dec Zenith Toulouse

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL 22/26 Nov Zenith Toulouse

UB40 12 April Casino Toulouse


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